Miscellaneous

Change is a Good Thing

As I’m writing this, I’m just back from a 2 week vacation in Europe and trying to adjust to “normal” life again - what, no castles, palaces or cathedrals to visit today?! While I usually try to fit in some quilt shops during my vacations, this is the first one in a long time where I didn’t do that. Granted, there weren’t many quilt shops in the countries I was in, but I actively took a break from the quilting business side of my life to take a much needed rest.

There have been some changes in my personal life recently (I retired from my day job) and this will allow me to spend more time on my quilting business and my own personal quilting (which never seems to take first place!).

As you know, there are never enough hours in a day to do everything you want to do and so I have been reevaluating how I currently spend my time and how I want to spend my time going forward, which brings me to this blogpost.

As a loyal blog reader, you’ll know that I publish YouTube videos every week, work as a Janome Canada artisan, host a Facebook page and group (hello, Chatties!) in addition to creating courses and content for my email subscribers. Of course my most important “work” is hosting and managing The Quilter’s Way, my online quilting membership. All of these ventures take a significant amount of time and while I can’t find more time (still haven’t been able to clone myself or invent a time machine), I can decide how and where I want to spend my time on my business.

So, I have decided to discontinue the Chatterbox Quilts’ blog effective today.

Don’t panic! You can still get the same information on my YouTube channel or by following me on social media, such as on Facebook or Instagram or by joining my Chatterbox Quilts’ Facebook group (and becoming a Chattie). I also have lots of free information that will come right to your inbox when you subscribe to one - or all - of my email newsletters. Just click here to get access to this valuable information.

If you want to get the most information from me, you can also join The Quilter’s Way where you’ll become a new member of an active and fun community of quilters from around the world. In addition to connecting with other members, you’ll have access to a wide variety of quilting information in the form of articles or video courses. It’s an ever evolving membership that grows based on members’ requests.

If you have been one of my blog readers, thank you for reading. I appreciate your support and comments. If you aren’t yet following me on social media or haven’t yet subscribed to my YouTube channel, I hope you’ll do so to continue keeping up with what’s happening at Chatterbox Quilts.

Looking forward to keeping in touch with you!

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

Spend Money to Save Quilting Time

Most quilters struggle to find time to quilt, but even when they do find the time, they may not be making the most of that time.

There are many ways you can save time in your quilt studio. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Electronic or Die Cutting Machines

Cutting the fabric for your projects can take quite a bit of time, especially if you have to use templates. There are a wide variety of fabric cutters available that can make this part of the project much quicker by cutting several layers of fabric at a time into precise shapes. Some cutters, such as the AccuQuilt GO!, GO Baby! or Studio 2 allow you to layer up to 6 pieces of fabric and cut through them by cranking the handle. There are a wide variety of cutting dies available for most of the shapes that we use in quilting. I especially like the 2½” die that allows me to cut jelly roll or binding strips quickly from the entire WOF.

You can also get other brands of machines, such as the Sizzix Big Shot Pro that cuts larger dies and uses dies from other companies, such as AccuQuilt. This cutter can go through 8 layers of fabric very quickly and before you know it, the cutting is done and you are ready to piece.

You can also get electronic cutters, like the Brother Scan N Cut or the Janome Artistic Edge which allow you to create your own designs or scan in designs and cut them very accurately. If you do appliqué like I do, this can really save you a lot of time. While they will only cut one layer of fabric at a time, they cut intricate designs that you would never be able to cut out precisely by hand.

Quilt Kits

While you may not think that buying a quilt kit could save you time, just think about it: the fabric is already chosen for you, the amount you need is there and all the fabrics match perfectly. How long does it usually take you to go through your stash picking fabrics or going to a quilt store or two to get exactly the right fabric? Kits do that work for you and you can get to the cutting and piecing that much quicker.

Quilting by Cheque

Once you’ve finished your quilt top, you can quilt it yourself, or you can quilt by cheque – take it to a longarm professional quilter. If you love to piece, but dread the quilting part, why not take it to a longarm quilter who will do a beautiful job for you and you can start into your next project while she is quilting your last one. I know many quilters who do this all the time. They know that this is the part of quilting they don’t enjoy or don’t think they do well and they prefer to have it done well by a professional.

So, if you want to make the most of your time in the quilt studio, consider these 3 tips:

  1. Use a fabric cutter to cut out your fabric

  2. Buy quilt kits

  3. Have a longarm professional quilt your quilt

Click on the image below for more information on these 3 ways for saving quilting time.

Do you spend money to save quilting time? Let me know what you do to “create” more quilting time in the Comments below.

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you strive to improve your quilting skills? Do you want to have fun doing it? Do you want to meet other quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. It’s not your grandmother’s quilting circle! Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Easy Teacup Pincushion

Do you have a favourite coffee mug or tea cup that is chipped, but you just can’t bear to throw it out? Maybe you picked up a teacup at an estate sale (like that’s every happened to me!) just because you liked it and don’t know what to do with it. Let me show you how to make a pincushion out of it.

 
Teacup pincushion.jpg
 

You’ll need:

 Coffee mug or tea cup (saucer optional)

Fabric for the pincushion

Decorative trim

Polyester fill or similar stuffing

Glue gun

Needle and perle cotton or thick thread for basting

We’ll be cutting a circle out of the fabric that should be at least three times the diameter of the top of the mug or cup. This will vary depending on the mug or cup you are using.

 
Teacup pincushion Kim with supplies.jpg
 

Cut out the circle of fabric and run a basting stitch about ½” in from the raw edge. Be sure to knot your thread first and use large running stitches. Pull the thread out to the outside of the circle and do not knot it yet.

 Pull the basting stitching a bit so that the pincushion is starting to form and so that you can stuff it.

 Stuff the circle. You will need to pull the basting stitching in as you go along to contain it. 

Once the circle is filled, pull the basting stitch tight and knot off.

 Now get your glue gun fired up! Run a line of glue inside the cup, partway down the side – not too close to the top as we don’t want to see the glue. Press the pincushion down inside the cup or mug and squish it around until it is the way you like it. If you are using a teacup and have a saucer, glue the saucer to the bottom of the cup.

For extra decoration, you could glue trim or ribbon, bows, etc. around the top edge of the cup or mug – buttons or other decorative items.

For a step-by-step tutorial on creating a teacup or mug pincushion, click on the image below.

Enjoy your lovely personalized just for you pincushion!

Have you ever created a pincushion using a chipped mug or one that you’ve bought at the second hand shop? Leave me a comment below to tell me about your mug or teacup pincushion experience.

Creatively,

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Print
 

P.S. Are you serious about improving your quilting? Do you want to connect with other committed quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post ,I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Avoid Distractions and Stay Focused When Quilting

Did you know that distractions can affect your efficiency in your quilt studio? And by distractions, I’m not necessarily talking about getting a notification every time one of your friends posts on Facebook or Instagram – although that can be a huge distraction. Let’s talk about what other types of distractions can be affecting your quilting productivity and how to avoid them.

Take a look around your quilt studio. Is everything in its place or are there WIP’s, fabric and books lying around? Okay, maybe that’s just my studio, but I’m sure that yours is sometimes in this state too. If having a messy studio bothers you, it can affect your ability to be efficient in your studio.

 
Distractions Projects and Fabric.jpg
 

If there is fabric on my pressing surface that has been there ever since I bought it at the quilt show a month ago, this is a major distraction for me. I might be stitching away on a project, but once I catch a glimpse of this fabric pile, I start getting distracted. This visual distraction prevents me from working on my current project as I keep thinking, “I really need to fold this fabric and get it into my fabric stash”. This desire to put away the fabric is in the back of my mind as I am trying to work on my quilt project, distracting me which makes me less efficient. If I wanted to avoid this scenario, I should really put this fabric away as soon as I get home from the quilt show, but this never happens. It languishes on my cutting or pressing surface, getting moved around whenever I need these areas for their proper activities.

This also happens with books, patterns and magazines in my studio. I may’ve leafed through them, but I want to take a closer look when I have more time, so I leave them out on my sewing table or another area in my quilt studio. I’m afraid that if I put them away, I’ll forget about them or forget which book or magazine had that fantastic pattern in it. Again, I really should put them away after making a note of the books or magazines that I want to refer back to when I have the time.

 
Distractions Fabric and cart.jpg
 

Leaving items like these out, rather than putting them away, not only takes up working space, but creates a visual distraction. Seeing them takes your mind away from your current project and can make you feel guilty or overwhelmed. These are one type of visual distraction that can be easily remedied, by putting them away, but there is another type of visual distraction that isn’t so easily dealt with.

 
 

The décor of your quilt studio can also be a visual distraction. If you’re the type of person who needs clean space around you, yet have lots of decorative items in your studio, this might be causing you to be distracted and unable to focus on your current project. If you have a large window in your quilting space, this can provide wonderful lighting, but if you are constantly looking to see what’s going on outside, this distraction can interrupt your quilting time.

Click on the image below for a video on distractions in your quilt studio and how to avoid them.

Do you have distractions in your quilt studio that are affecting your efficiency? Let me know in the Comments below.

Creatively,

Print
 

P.S. Do you want to enhance your quilting and become the best quilter you can be?  If you answered “yes” to this question, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

 

Quilting Books for Every Season

Do you change your home decorations with the season? I admit that I don't do this very often but I do like to change out my wall hangings and sometimes even table runners for different times of the year. I certainly do this in December where the whole house looks like a Christmas bomb exploded in our house! 

 
 

I've gone through my personal library of quilt books to pick out some of the ones I have that have seasonal projects in them. Whether you like pieced projects or prefer appliqué (this is my niche!), cotton or wool, you're sure to find a suitable seasonal project in one of these books. They are (in no particular order):

Kim Schaefer's Calendar Quilts

Quilt the Seasons by Pat Sloan

Quilt the Season Book 2 by Pat Sloan (because one book is never enough from Pat)

A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue by Christine Porter and Darra Williamson

Seasonal Silhouettes by Edyta Sitar

Simple Seasons by Kim Diehl

A Change of Seasons by Bonnie Sullivan

More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 by Lori Kennedy

I've included links to each book so you can take a closer look at them or even add a few to your quilting library.

 
Quilting Books for the Seasons - 3.jpg
 

Click on the image below to see a little of each of these books.

 
 

Do you like to put out seasonal quilts in your home? I'd love to see your quilt projects, so just pop a photo in the Comment section below. If you have a favourite quilt book that has seasonal projects in it, let me know that too.

Creatively,

Print
 

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P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive FREE emails full of quilting goodness? Just click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small amount of compensation if you purchase a product by clicking through links in this blogpost. This allows me to continue to provide you with FREE content each week. Thank you.